Scoop: Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner dies

Jefferson Airplane founding member Paul Kantner, who became known as the architect of “the San Francisco sound,” has died.

The legendary San Francisco rocker, 74, died Thursday at home, with his family present. His son Gareth Kantner told NBC News his father suffered a heart attack, which led to organ failure and septic shock.

Guitarist Kantner and singer Marty Balin formed Jefferson Airplane in the mid-1960s with musicians including Grace Slick and Jorma Kaukonen.

The band, known for psychedelic rock classics “White Rabbit” and “Somebody to Love,” was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

Kantner’s career also included a stint, with Slick, in Jefferson Starship in the 1970s. Later, the band dropped “Jefferson,” and Kantner left Starship, agreeing not to use either “Jefferson” or “Airplane” without Slick’s consent.

Kantner, who spent much of his life in his native city, would look back later and remember a golden age of art, free love and joyous possibility, the Associated Press reported.

He joked that San Francisco was a privileged haven, “49 square miles surrounded by reality.”

Musician David Crosby tweeted, “Paul Kantner was my friend ,roommate, pal… We wrote ‘Wooden Ships’ together with Stephen [Stills]. I’m going to miss him.”

BARBIE’S NEW BODIES

Dare we suggest that the reason for Barbie’s makeover has to do with the fact that sales of the 57-year-old fashion doll, iconic as she is, have plummeted?

While a Time magazine story by Eliana Dockterman asks on the cover: “Now can we stop talking about my body?,” inside it makes the point that Mattel Inc.’s reason for making Barbie more realistically proportioned is mostly to make money.

The plastic doll, whose teeny waist, big boobs and long legs have been criticized for creating ridiculous expectations for girls, will be sold with three new bodies — curvy (some have likened it to “normal”), tall and petite. New dolls, which hit store shelves in March, also will come in seven skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 hairstyles.

While Evelyn Mazzocco, Barbie’s global general manager, said, “These new dolls represent a line that is more reflective of the world girls see around them; we believe we have a responsibility to girls and parents to reflect a broader view of beauty,” the Los Angeles Times reports that Mattel’s overall sales have dropped for eight straight quarters.

The original 11.5-inch Barbie isn’t going away. That’s good news for Kirstie Alley, who tweeted: “Are we seriously going to imply that Barbie needs to be taken seriously? Jeez bring back 1965 where Barbie just looked like freak.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Singer Adam Lambert is 34. … Actress Sara Gilbert is 41. … Actress Heather Graham is 46. … Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey is 62. … Singer Charlie Wilson is 63. … Singer Bettye LaVette is 70. … Actor Tom Selleck is 71. … Actress Katharine Ross is 76.

— Wire reports

Got scoops or Bay Area celebrity gossip? Email scoop@sfexaminer.com.

Examiner Staff

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